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Midnight Sun to Red Sea Rally

18th June 2002

Day 16 - Damascus (Syria) to Amman (Jordan)

BUSTED SUMPS - HONDA LOST IN THE WOODS SPINNING CORTINAS - MUSTANG ON FIRE

A fast run to the border and into Jordan. Different, brighter and busier and wealthier with a Regularity in the only forest in Jordan.

And here is something completely novel! Check into our hotel and come out in the cool of the evening to do two more tests in the middle of Amman, the nation's capital. Two runs in the stadium 5,000 spectators there to cheer you on. 

Two runs over the 10 km forest stage in Jordan produced high dramas.
Event leader Joe McAndrew was late booking into the control collecting a 2 minute penalty and then took a wrong turn and went 2 km off route incurring a stage maximum. He retains the event lead but his errors have reduced his lead from eleven and a half minutes to 6m 41secs.

James Inglebey’s Mustang caught fire on the start line. Other competitors in the line-up used seven fire extinguishers to put out the fierce under-bonnet flames. James is busy hoping to replace burnt-out wiring in time for the morning re-start.

The first run over the stage was won by the 1600cc Toyota of Graham Lorimer and Jenny Brittan giving them their first stage win of the event.
“It was a lumpy wheel-spinning gravel stage, a bit reminiscent of Africa which is where I do most of my rallying these days so I felt quite at home," said a smiling Lorimer, well pleased with his efforts.

The second run was won by the monster V8 Monaro of Keith and Mary-Ann Callinan – two cars at totally different ends of the power and size spectrum.

Andy Pidden and Mike Cotter in their Cortina executed a neat 180 degree spin and wound up stalled and facing in the wrong direction. Mike jumped out and waved down the oncoming car. Unable to restart the engine they push started it in reverse and ran backwards until they found space to turn on the narrow tree-lined stage.

Peter Swire in his Astra, unable to find traction off the line stalled 50 metres into the stage and had to be towed to safety. “Our first gear ratio is far too high and it just won’t do the right thing on uphill gravel starts,”said a still smiling Swire. “Are the desert stage tomorrow all on the flat ?.

Peter Cochrane’s co-driver Richard Anderson described the Mustang’s handling through this tight stage as, “a bit like trying to change the direction of a lead-tipped arrow.”

Steve Blunt lost his way in a cloud of his own dust in a half spin and clobbered a rock that put a hole in his sump. They made it to the end of the stage where their mechanics quickly tipped the car onto two wheels, servicing it Laurel and Hardy style, to get at the sump and plugged the hole with epoxy 2-pack and sent it into the second stage of the day. The repair worked and they posted 4th fastest time to secure their fourth place on the leader board.

The computer in Nik Berg’s little Prius took control when the car was wheel spinning in a rut and the message it sent to the engine was something like ….I don’t like this, I don’t want to play any more.
So co-driver Tim Bampton got out and pushed while the Volvo of Tom Hayes and Andy Vann overtook them.

So McAndrew still leads with Richard Martin-Hurst in second and Graham Lorimer has vaulted up into third place.

Tomorrow competitors face their first true desert stages – something none of them have experienced before – so they will be out there playing Lawrence of Arabia on wheels, worrying about wheelspin and Wadis.
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